Van Rooij and Linden: “Plasma technology is THE innovative chemical process technology based on green electricity”


On 18 November 2021, the Brightsite Plasmalab will open on the Brightlands Chemelot campus. In the Brightsite Plasmalab, researchers from Maastricht University and its Brightsite partners TNO, Sitech Services and Brightlands Chemelot Campus will work together to optimize existing plasma technology and develop new plasma processes. An important step towards sustainable chemistry. Last week, we introduced Tim Righart and Tom Butterworth. Time to meet more key persons involved in the Brightsite Plasmalab. Prof. Dr. Gerard van Rooij, Professor of Plasma Chemistry at Maastricht University, is Head of the Brightsite Plasmalab. Hans Linden, Manager of the Brightsite program line ‘Reduction of emissions by electrification’, played an important role in the funding and realization of the Brightsite Plasmalab on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. 

Gerard van Rooij

Gerard van Rooij is professor of plasma chemistry at Maastricht University and sustainable plasma chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology. Van Rooij received his MSc in Applied Physics from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), specializing in Plasma Physics. He then received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) for research in macromolecular mass spectrometry that he conducted at AMOLF. After carrying out postdoctoral research in calibration techniques for fluorescence microscopy at UvA, he joined DIFFER. Since 2012, he has been researching plasma activation of chemical reactions to support the storage of sustainable energy in chemical potential energy for integration in other sectors, such as transport and the chemical industry, work that he is currently continuing part-time at DIFFER. On May 1, 2020, van Rooij was appointed Professor of Plasma Chemistry at UM’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, UM’s first appointment within Brightsite. Based on his role at UM, van Rooij will participate in various Brightsite program lines, especially in the field of electrification. This includes his appointment as head of the new Brightsite Plasmalab.

Prof. Dr. Gerard van Rooij:

 “Plasma technology is THE innovative chemical process technology that is based on green electricity. By combining the capabilities of plasma in our new lab with innovative, state-of-the-art technologies and also carrying out fundamental research, we expect to make major breakthroughs in sustainability.”

Prof. Dr. Gerard van Rooij (left) and Hans Linden (right) in the Brightsite Plasmalab

Hans Linden

Hans Linden is Program Manager of Brightsite’s program line ‘Reduction of emissions by electrification’. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Linden joined TNO in 1991 as Program Manager, responsible for a wide variety of projects regarding surface modification and material technology. After 15 years, he switched to the company Scheuten, where he was responsible for the research team and the development of a thin film solar cell based on CIGS. In 2016 Linden started working for Solliance Solar Research, founded by TNO, Eindhoven University of Technology and ECN. From his role as Senior Project Manager / Business Development Solar Energy at TNO, he joined Brightsite in 2020 as Program Manager.

The program line ‘Reduction of emissions by electrification’ focusses on the possibilities of using renewable electricity to power processes and installations and thereby significantly reducing the CO₂ emissions of Chemelot. To achieve the climate goals on the site Linden is researching long term options such as: electrical high temperature heating with renewable energy and decarbonization without the formation of CO₂. “We are also looking at the main challenges, which lie within the reliable supply of sufficient green electricity, technological development and demonstration of electrical high temperature heating, and incorporation of flexible processes and installations”, says Linden.

Hans Linden:

“We want to develop new plasma processes that are more efficient and will help us move forward towards a circular chemical industry. I am convinced that plasma technology offers great potential within the chemical industry. Not only can it be applied to hydrocarbons as a means of generating raw materials that are used in the production of plastics, it can also play a part within the nitrogen chain in the production of ammonia, artificial fertilizer and melamine.”